Two men have been arrested in the case relating to the murder of a gay couple in Malta. A third accused is said to have fled the country, media reports said.

Initially thought to have been a hate crime, the LGBTQI community members believe after police statements that robbery was possibly the motive that led to the double murders of Maltese national Christian Pandolfino, a doctor turned investment banker and his partner Ivor Maciejowski, a high profile British art dealer. The couple had met while they were living in the UK and had been together for four years.

The two were shot dead at their home in Sliema, a resort town on the island country of Malta on August 18, 2020. According to the police, on the evening of the incident Pandolfino had gone out for dinner with a relative, while Maciejowski who was feeling unwell had stayed back at home. Pandolfino came home to check up on his partner around 10pm. CCTV videos captured the moment around 10:19 pm when three suspects entered the house. Minutes later gunshots were heard and around 10:23 pm the assailants were seen exiting the building and fleeing in a waiting Volkswagen Tiguan.

The police who were called in found Pandolfino and Maciejowski dead from gunshot wounds. Rumours abounded following the deaths, with media speculating that it could have been a professional hit on the couple, who were art dealers and had valuable art at their homes.

“Tragic is an understatement.ย RIP Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski, a loving Maltese/British couple murdered last night in their own home in Sliema,” posted Malta Pride, a local LGBTQI group on their facebook page. In an update posted subsequently, the group said, “Although details of the case are still emerging, it seems that this was a botched hold up and not necessarily related to being a homophobic hate crime. It would be sensible to wait and see at this point without making any rash conclusions.”

๐“๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ข๐œ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐š๐ง ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ.RIP Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski, a loving Maltese/British couple murdered…

Posted by Malta Pride on Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Tributes poured in as many remembered the loving and gracious couple.

“They were so kind to me when I served them. ย Everytime we chatted and talked about good things.. they were a gentle couple. .they did not deserve any of this,” recalled one person.

On his Instagram page Maciejowski described himself as a “contemporary art dealer and photography art publisher,” with many of his posts featuring the couple’s art collection at their home.

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In a touching tribute, Pandolfinos’ sister Daniela recalled him as “larger than life and lived only by his rules, not caring for social norms or social etiquette, wearing a ton of gold chains to go for breakfast and bermudas to a wedding.”

What do i write? Words fail me, this tragedy is so senseless, cruel, inexplicable ….. Another huge part of my heart…

Posted by Daniela Pandolfino on Friday, 21 August 2020

The CCTV footage and discovery of the abandoned getaway car led police to the suspects.

ย Following a shoot out the police arrested prime accused Daniel Muka, who was allegedly seen in the CCTV footage. Muka has been charged for offences including wilful homicide and stealing โ‚ฌ2,329 worth of jewellery. Muka plead not guilty to the charges and on the request of his lawyers the court ordered a psychiatric evaluation, media reports said.

A second accused Viktor Dragomanski was arrested from a city hotel and charged in the case.

Police said they are in the process of applying for an European arrest warrant for a third suspect who is believed to have left Malta.

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